Thursday, March 29, 2018

Stephens, Ostapenko to meet for Miami title

   Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko, both of whom shockingly won Grand Slam singles titles last year, will meet for the first time in the Miami Open women's final on Saturday.
   The 13th-seeded Stephens, a 25-year-old Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident who grew up in Fresno, defeated wild card and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 today. Azarenka was playing in only her second tournament since Wimbledon last July because of a custody battle involving her 1-year-old son, Leo.
   The sixth-seeded Ostapenko, a 20-year-old Latvian, beat qualifier Danielle Collins of St. Petersburg, Fla., 7-6 (1), 6-3. Ostapenko saved a set point against the two-time NCAA singles champion and 2016 University of Virginia graduate.
   Ostapenko and Stephens won the French Open and U.S. Open, respectively, last year as unseeded players. Ostapenko captured her first tour-level title at Roland Garros three days after turning 20. At Flushing Meadows, Stephens was playing in only her fifth tournament after undergoing foot surgery.
   ESPN2 will televise the Miami women's final on Saturday at 10 a.m. PDT.
   Also Saturday, ex-Stanford All-Americans Bob and Mike Bryan will play in their third consecutive doubles final. The fourth seeds and four-time Miami champions beat unseeded Ben McLachlan, a former Cal star, and Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 7-5, 6-4.
   McLachlan, a New Zealand native who plays for his mother's native Japan, and Struff advanced to the Australian Open final in January in their first tournament together.
   The Bryan twins, who will turn 40 on April 29, will meet Karen Khachanov, 21, and Andrey Rublev, 20. The unseeded Russians dismissed Steve Johnson of Redondo Beach in the Los Angeles region and Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native living in Las Vegas, 6-3, 6-1 in 44 minutes.
   The Bryans, runners-up at Acapulco and Indian Wells this month, seek their first Masters 1000 championship since the 2016 Italian Open and their first title of any kind since Atlanta last July.

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